From Harper’s Dismissal to Overseeing The Oxford American
by ________Posted on September 10th, 2012 at 9:42 pm
The Oxford American has appointed Roger D. Hodge new editor of the magazine, after OA fired founding editor Marc Smirnoff earlier this year for what seems were sexual harassment charges. Ironically, Hodge has experience of his own with magazine foundations at odds with their editors—experience of a very different flavor, to be sure—as he was ousted from his four-year editorship of Harper’s magazine back in 2010, a controversial firing that also included longtime staff members Ben Metcalf and Ted Ross.
Below is the entire press release received this evening from OA:
Roger D. Hodge is the new editor of The Oxford American, becoming only the second editor in the magazine’s 20-year history.
Hodge was the editor of Harper’s Magazine from 2006-2010, and during his tenure the magazine was a National Magazine Award finalist seven times, winning in 2007 for fiction and in 2010 for reporting.
“The appointment of Roger Hodge as editor of The Oxford American will begin an exciting new era for the magazine,” said Warwick Sabin, publisher of The Oxford American. “He brings impeccable literary credentials as well as a rigorous experience editing Harper’s Magazine. Roger is a son of the South, having been born in Texas and educated at Sewanee. Roger has an intuitive understanding of the unique spirit and character of The Oxford American, and he is the perfect person to shepherd it in a rapidly evolving publishing landscape.”
“The Oxford American has done a favor and a service to both its readers and its writers,” said Lewis H. Lapham, Hodge’s predecessor as editor at Harper’s Magazine. “Roger Hodge’s aversion to nonsense follows from his respect for the meanings of words and his faith in the first-person singular.”
“This is an exciting moment for magazines, and for literary journalism in particular,” Hodge said. “People have grown weary of the 24-hour news cycle. They’re hungry for good stories, for vital narratives that help them make sense of a disorienting world. I can’t think of a better venue for such writing than The Oxford American.”
Hodge began his journalism career in 1989 as a freelance writer in North Carolina. After a lengthy detour through the thickets of academic philosophy, he was hired by Harper’s Magazine as a fact checker in 1996. He joined the magazine’s acclaimed “Readings” section in 1997 and edited the section from 1999 to 2003. Under his leadership the section strengthened its political and literary focus while continuing to publish comic and historically significant primary documents, as well as a selection of the best poems and essays from the little magazines and forthcoming books. In December 2000 Hodge orchestrated the relaunch of the magazine’s website and created the popular “Weekly Review,” a deadpan satire of the twenty-four hour news feed. In the fall of 2003 Hodge left the “Readings” section to devote more of his attention to long-form journalism. In December 2003 he oversaw another redesign of Harpers.org; that month he also began writing a monthly print column, “Findings,” a sardonic portrait of recent medical, scientific, and environmental developments. He was named Deputy Editor in November 2004 and became Editor in April 2006.
Since leaving Harper’s in 2010, Hodge has written one book of political argument, The Mendacity of Hope (Harper), and many articles and essays for magazines such as Texas Monthly, Men’s Journal, The London Review of Books, Book Forum, and Popular Science. He was a National Magazine Award finalist for Reviews and Criticism for his 2006 Harper’s essay, “Blood and Time: Cormac McCarthy and the Twilight of the West.” Hodge is currently writing a book, forthcoming from Knopf, about life in the West Texas borderlands, where his family has been in the ranching business since the 1850s.